Monday, January 25, 2016

Happiness Down Under!

Monday (1.18.16)
We went to the trampoline park for Zone P-day and it was a lot of fun! We have a really great zone and we all work hard so it was fun to play hard together too! We had to start really early so our outback missionaries could get home in time. 

Zone P-day at the Trampoline Park. Look at me... I'm Samuel the Lamanite!

Sponge blocks rock!

Hangin' with my Gippsland Zonies.

They have a long way to travel because our zone extends so far into the Australian Outback. After our P-day activity, Elder Kim and I were blessed to go to the Teremate’s home for a family home evening. They are always so kind to the missionaries and they enjoy having us spend time with them. They tell me having the missionaries in their home brings back good memories for them. I love them a lot and we were able to share a message with them on Hope and why it is so VITAL that we have hope in ALL that we do!

Tuesday (1.19.16)
I had an amazing personal study this morning! All of my study time is amazing however during my study this morning I was blessed to understand how important it is to have HOPE in all we do in life and to expect things to happen! I love how when we expect great things to happen they happen! I have really been able to implement this ideology into my missionary work and it is incredible how much the four letter word HOPE has changed my mission! Today, we had District meeting and then Language study for Elder Kim so by the time we were able to actually hit the pavement it was 2:00 pm.  But I didn’t let it bother me too much because I KNEW Heavenly Father would bless us for completing our duties! 

Elder Kim's family sent him some Korean medicine....
I'm not quite sure what it does, but since it's in a red, white and blue capsule,
it must help you learn how to speak American!

We went and tracted the street we had planned and nothing really came of it to be honest EXCEPT... We met a lady who had experienced a recent death in her family. She didn’t want to meet with us but we were able to give her the Plan of Salvation pamphlet and I KNEW God had sent us to her for that specific reason! Then we went to a man that we had tracted into a while back who was upset with God. His two year old son had died and he felt like God had taken him away and made his life bad.  It was amazing because we were able to purely testify that we hadn't experienced the level of pain he was going through BUT the Savior through the Atonement knew EXACTLY what he was feeling and going through! This knowledge seemed to resonate with him in a different way than anything had ever before regarding the sadness and grief he is experiencing over the loss of his precious little boy. After that we were walking and we met an African American man from New England. As we were talking with him he didn’t believe I was an American too……he thought I was Australian. I know my mom will be happy that I am getting an Australian accent.  haha! We were able to get his info and hopefully we will be able to meet with him soon. After that we were invited to the Young’s house and we had a great night with them! We shared an awesome message and the spirit was really strong. We were able to commit them to read the Book of Mormon as a family every night:) I know this will bless their family in amazing ways. Then we jumped on the tramp and I did some flips (in my church clothes…ha ha) to show the kids my mad tramp skills!  To finish the night we went and shared a quick message to Laz and Hayes!

Wednesday (1.20.16)
To be honest this was just one of those days that can be frustrating for missionaries when what we had planned didn’t work out. But that is all right because then the things that happen is what the Lord wants to happen.  Anyway all of our appointments fell through and we were stuck going to our back up plans and they didn’t really seem to work out very well either. Elder Kim and I both tried to stay positive and it was a great learning experience as we chose to just be happy doing the work of the Lord. 

You can always count on pizza and prayer to pick you up after a rough day.

The one highlight for the day was we were able to meet with Mick. He was the referral that we visited for the first time about two weeks ago. He originally slammed the door in my face. But last week he called and asked us to please come over and teach him! He is fighting some addictions and he was a bit tipsy when we went to his house to teach him. As we chatted with him we found out that he will be moving out of our area very soon. So we won’t get the chance to teach him very much but it will be alright and because we have planted the seed other missionaries will be able to work with him! It was pretty cool however, when we taught him how to pray and right after he was finished he told us, “As I prayed I became instantly sober and I could think very clearly!” It was a real testimony builder for all of us on the power of prayer!   Another amazing thing that happened was we were driving to another area and I was pondering about where we should go and then this street sign just flashed into my mind and the name of it was Friendship Close.  I had never been there before but through the Spirit I knew without a shadow of a doubt it was in our area! We were blessed to find a lady on that street named Helen!

Thursday (1.21.16)
We had District Leadership Council this morning and it was really good! After that we set off to meet with the lady we met yesterday named Helen. We just had one problem. She was going to be the only one there and the mission rules say we need at least one other person when our investigator is alone. It was the middle of the day and it can be hard to find someone home at that time.  However, we weren’t about to give up. We knew Heavenly Father had led us to Helen yesterday and we were going to teach her about Him and the Savior today no matter what! So we said a prayer and knew we should go find Laz. He is one of the less active 18 year olds we are working with. When we pulled up he was outside with Liam and Hayes and we just stopped on the curb and said “Laz get your shoes on we need you!”  He said, “Hell no! (remember hell is not a swear word in Australia!) I am not prepared!”  I said, “Laz, just get in and come with us and I promise you it willl be alright!” AND HE DID! Haha! I can tell you it was a complete miracle!! When we got to Helen’s it turned out she had a friend with her who is a member of the church in a different ward! It was really awesome because we all had lunch together and we taught a bit of a condensed Restoration lesson and it was really powerful. It really had a big effect on Laz and changed him as well. After the lesson he was a bit different which was really special to see:) After leaving Helen’s home we were able to go visit Monica as well and it was great because she introduced us to a non member that is going to move in to her house soon. So hopefully we will be to start teaching her as well! :) We finished up the night with Ward Correlation meeting with Geoff! It is always awesome to be there with him and learn from him. We are really getting pretty close and it is great! :) 

Friday (1.22.16)
We got a call and found out that there was going to be an ET (emergency transfer) in our zone and we needed to help out with it! So the morning was spent going to the office with Elder Wach who was leaving and picking up Elder Matewai. It is always good to be able to help out other missionaries because I KNOW that after we do so Heavenly Father blesses our area! Then we were able to go over to Mick’s house again with the member that gave us the referral for him. Unfortunately it was much different this time because HE WAS SMASHED!! We taught him the best way we could but we cut it pretty short because he was struggling to understand us and we weren’t really getting through to him. He is moving tomorrow so we will continue to pray for him to overcome his trials and that the missionaries will be able to teach him. Then Elder Kim and I did our weekly planning. After that we were able to go teach Yvette, Jordan and Monique:) We taught them the Plan of Salvation and they are super awesome! Monique really wants to be baptized so we are just working on her mom now! I KNOW that it will all come in the Lord’s time! It is good for Yvette to get the lessons again and have a great review. We can all learn more about the gospel as we grow closer to our Savior. We finished up teaching Heather’s granddaughter, Aliagh. She is an awesome girl and hopefully she is getting baptized on Saturday! Then went to pick up some of the Elders from our zone because they are sleeping over at our flat so they can attend the missionary broadcast with us tomorrow!

Rollin' with my brothers in the gospel... all we need is some Mo-Tab with a beat!

Saturday (1.23.16)
It was amazing to be able to participate in a part of church history! We were blessed to participate in a World Wide missionary Broadcast! This has not happened in over a decade! I was able to learn SOOOOO much from it! It was amazing!! We were basically trained by Elder Bednar, Elder Oaks, and Elder Anderson for about two hours and things were really able to make sense to me and the Spirit was able to help me know how to become who HEAVENLY FATHER  wants me to be! By the time it was over and we got the Elders on the train back to their homes in Pakenham it was about 3:00 pm.  Then we went to teach Iain and Suzie! It was really good. We were able to teach them a bit more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are just really stressed and the adversary is really working overtime on them but I know they will get through it though! After that we were blessed to be able to go on splits with brother Teremate. We love him so much and we were also able to visit a family that I have been trying to get into for WEEKS! They are the Havili family. They are very close to going to the temple and hopefully we will be able to help them come back and get going in the gospel again. Then we went and had dinner with the Teremates! I love being in their home and spending time with them!

Sunday (1.24.16)
Monique was the only investigator that was able to come to church. AjJ and Leyla’s daughter was sick and it was sad that they couldn’t come but they really love coming to church and they told us they want to keep coming:) Then in the Devon Meadows ward SIO Uini came!!!! He told his grandma that he needs to go to the Mormon church! The feeling I had when I saw him walk into the chapel was so amazing!!! Aghhh it was the best! My joy was indescribable! Also, my brother Elder Seiuli came back to visit and it was nice to see him! He was my AP and I learned so many things about being a missionary from him!

Me and Elder Seiuli.

After church we went for lunch at the Lotua family! They said that missionaries had not come in awhile because they were struggling with some things but during our lesson we all felt the Spirit and the tears flowed. The Spirit was sooo strong! The gospel is TRUE everyone! Then we went to the Uini family and watched the restoration and right after that I went to stake choir practice and I saw Sister Perry there! I absolutely love the Perry family! They were a big part of my happiness in Doncaster and I am so happy they moved to Gippsland! This was a great Sabbath!

Elder Kim, Sister Perry, and Me... getting ready for choir practice...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Training Another Zone Leader

Monday (1.11.16)
On schedule for Preparation Day today was lots of great visiting. Elder Rolfe is being transferred from Cranbourne to Wangratta so we went on the goodbye tour for him. 

Elder Rolfe's farewell tour... 

... No farewell tour is complete without pizza and a farewell hymn. :)
We are blessed to have some amazing people in this area and it is hard for missionaries to leave! We visited Monica, the Teremates, and then we went to President Valdes’ (he is our Stake President) home and after that we finished up at the Mulipolas:) It was an awesome night! I especially loved just spending time with all these great families in their homes. Earlier in the day we helped some elders clean their flats and then I helped Elder Rolfe pack up his stuff to leave on Tuesday.

Tuesday (1.12.16)
This was our very first time doing Transfers the new way the Missionary Department wants us to. We don’t have a centralized transfer meeting anymore and the zone leaders handle it all within their own zone. It was an interesting experience for this first time, but I know it will get smoother the more we work on it. This first time though, all through the weekend I felt like I was a travel agent responsible for getting lots of people where they need to travel to…….ha ha! First of all, we had to get all of the Elders and Sisters that were being transferred to their new area and then we had to find out how our NEW Elders and Sisters were going to get into their new areas in the zone. So, we basically just traveled around and shuttled missionaries ALL DAY LONG! It made it a little more complicated this time because my companion, Elder Rolfe, was being transferred up to the Bush (Australian Outback) so that added a bit of complication and a very long drive. We started off the day picking up some Elders in Pakenham and then driving them to Frankston to pick up another Elder and then we made our way to a place called Hastings and then we went to the mission office to drop off another Elder and then made the long drive back to the half way point to pick up Elder Johnson and drop off Elder Rolfe. At the end of the day I added up our mileage and we ended up driving about 500 K's!  So it turned out to be a big road trip day. But it was really great because I was able to spend some really good time getting to know my new companion, Elder Kim. I will be training him to be a zone leader and he is a really great Elder. He is from Korea and he is super humble. He is learning English and I will help him with that but I know I will learn a lot from him too! We have a lot of mutual respect for each other and I know we will be able to accomplish great things together this transfer. We made it home just in time to start planning for the next day!

Meet my new companion... Elder Kim from Korea. 

Wednesday (1.13.16)
This was one of the hottest days I have experienced on my mission. It got up to 43 degrees Celsius! (which is 111 degrees Farenheit) However, looking back now, I know that it was just a tool for the adversary to use to try to make us give up and not work as hard. Well guess what Satan… didn’t work!!! We were blessed to see a lot of miracles on this very hot day! Even though it was such a hot day, Elder Kim and I decided to let the Spirit totally guide us and that way we could make sure we were doing the RIGHT thing and what Heavenly Father wanted us to do. To start the day, we began tracting on a street that we knew a Less Active member lived on. We tracted and worked for about 2 hours and we weren’t able to contact anyone. We had NOTHING after two super, sweaty hot hours!  The only person who answered their door was a real joker who said, “Hi, are you the two guys I ordered from the agency?” Elder Kim was confused and looked at me and asked, "What did he say?" I was like, “Ehhh ,don’t worry about it. Just a guy trying to be funny….haha I guess that is one of the perks of being a language missionary…..some of the rude things people say just go right over your head!

Then we went to the next street we had planned to go to and we followed up with a lady named Michelle. She was happy to see us but as we talked I knew I needed to bear my testimony of how valuable going to Sunday School is for children and testify to her about the Restoration of the Church. When I was finished bearing testimony, she told me, "I know that it is really hot out here but you came to me at the right time, and at the right place to share the right message. I am someone who needs to reconnect with God." I was shocked and it was a MIRACLE!!! :) I knew that the Lord was really just testing our patience and obedience on this very hot day. By now it was 43 C (111 F) and we still had had another street to tract. BUT we were able to find an Iranian lady named Leyla that seemed quite interested in what we had to share.  We invited her to come to church and she said that she would ask her husband. The Lord really did bless us all day long and we were especially blessed to go to the Teremate’s home for dinner. They are an amazing family who take such good care of the missionaries. Their home has such a wonderful spirit, it is a haven for us and we love to be there with them. After dinner we met with Hayes and taught him a great lesson. He is learning so much and doing really well. We are just going to keep teaching him even if it goes slowly. It was a hot but amazing day that was filled with great experiences:)

I hit the 17 month mark today... I can't believe how fast it has gone.

Thursday (1.14.16)
Our day started out by rushing to Maccas (Aussie for McDonalds) to get breakfast for the new Cranbourne Sister missionaries.  They called us first thing in the morning and asked us where the store was because they didn’t have anything for breakfast! I was crushed that I had messed up and didn’t check their flat to make sure they had food after they moved in! You can be sure I won’t ever make that mistake again!  Then it was off to our DLC (District Leadership Council meeting). It was a great DLC meeting because we really have great District Leaders now in the Gippsland Zone. Elder Johnson will be great up in Sale because I know if anything happens up there we will hear about it from him because of my great relationship with him. It was truly an answer to prayer having him transferred down there:)

After that the time had come for Weekly Planning!  I have to be honest……Thursdays are really my least favorite days because we have to stay inside until we get our planning finished. BUT I know that it all works out in the end. After planning, we were able to go to visit an investigator named Matt and teach him about the Restoration. It was great because his son, Matti and his friend Seth were both there to listen to the lesson as well. The kids really seemed to enjoy the lesson, they even got a little more into it than their Dad. We invited Matt to be baptized but he told us that he isn’t prepared to make that decision yet. But his son said that he wanted to go to church and get baptized! The only problem is that he has to ask his mom who is not religious at all. However, as I have learned many times on my mission….. this is the bonus of being on the Lord’s side!! If it is something the Lord wants and the timing is right it will happen. After that, we went over to the Clarkes for a dinner appointment. They are a really awesome family and they really love us! They told us we are welcome to come over anytime! Then we were able to go teach some great investigators, Monique and Yvette. Except before the lesson, Yvette pulled me aside and said that until she is ready to come to church and participate fully she doesn’t want her kids to be baptized. It made me so sad to hear this because the kids are so ready and really want to be baptized! We taught them the Restoration lesson and they are so prepared. They have studied and they know EVERYTHING!!! Aaghhhhh! But I know the Lord will help! I am just really glad that their mother told us how she was feeling because now we know that we just have to keep strengthening her testimony:) I know that it will all work out!

Friday (1.15.16)
Today we had another district meeting and we headed up to Pakenham once again! It was an awesome meeting because they have a great district.  Following the district meeting we went and did service for a neighbor of one of the member’s in our ward in Cranbourne. She is in her 70's and it was really great to help her. It was hot again and so doing hard work like mowing lawns and weeding and stuff can be hard. But today I didn’t mind because she really need the help and it was nice to show her that we truly want to serve and help people. It helped her to see the church in a good light and that was nice. We were there for a little longer than I had planned but I just kept seeing other ½ finished projects and I knew we just couldn’t leave until we got her in good shape and I really wanted to just help her finish everything.  She was really appreciative and she even accepted a Book of Mormon. It took most of the afternoon but it was worth it and it meant a lot to her. We finished the night off at the Bishop’s house and he was really impressed at the work we had done in the area. It is nice because he has really come to trust the missionaries and he really likes me! He is awesome and I am so glad that we are able to have a really great relationship with him and his family.  
Give service... be Happy!

Saturday (1.16.16)
This day was another day of INTENSE miracles:) It all started when Iain and Suzie rescheduled their appointment to around 12:30 pm. It was unusual for them to change their lesson time to the afternoon but it just shows HOW MUCH the Lord is in this work and he will arrange things so that other things can be accomplished. We had a good lesson with them and then right after the lesson a guy named Mick called me. He was originally a referral from a member and that is usually a good thing but when we went to his house for the first time two weeks ago, he just yelled at us and slammed the door on us. But I had a prompting to leave a pamphlet with our phone number at the door and BAM! he called us today (2 weeks later) to say he was sorry for how he reacted to us and ask if there was a time when we really could meet!  It was truly amazing! And if that was not good enough... We went to Leyla’s house (She is the Persian woman that we met on Wednesday) and this time her husband was home and we were able to sit down and teach a VERY POWERFUL lesson on the Restoration to both of them! The spirit was so strong and they both KNOW that what we taught them was true:) We also were able to set both of them on a baptismal date for February 13th! Wow! The miracle of being diligent and being led by the Spirit on a hot day was really a blessing!  

Ginger beer float... cool, refreshing and always Word of Wisdom approved!

Then our dinner appointment canceled and so we went to the Clark’s house to pick something up and they ended up feeding us dinner. We are so grateful for them! After that, we went to contact all the members in the Ward Council face to face to invite them to the meeting that we were having tomorrow at church tomorrow! It was an awesome day!

Sunday: (1.17.16)
Church started at 9:00 am and by 9:05 am none of the people we had invited had made it to church. Agghh! I felt sooo sad but I KNEW that Heavenly father wanted them at church. I was determined not to lose hope and by about 9:15 am, five people we had invited to come to church were there!  We had Monique, Jordan, Brother Young, Leesa and LEYLA!!! We were so happy she came and she LOVED it!!!! I was also blessed to be asked to speak in church so it was a great way to see that the Bishopric trusts the missionaries. After the church meetings we had to go around picking up a couple things and then we were able to give a blessing and then we went to our Lunch/Dinner appointment. It was a little earlier than normal because the Stake President wanted to get all the missionaries together for a Devotional! So we picked up some of the Elders and Sister missionaries but it all worked out! The devotional was very good and it was great to be with some of the Gippsland Zone missionaries and the Stake President! :) 

Visiting with Stake President Valdes and his family.